Sunglasses are some of the hardest-working, most versatile pieces of gear you can buy. No matter what you like to do outside, a good pair of shades is essential, both for protecting your eyes from harmful UV rays and for clear, unhampered vision. Looking to upgrade your frames? We’ve rounded up some of the best sunglasses for men and tapped an expert for buying advice, too. Here’s what you need to know.
Picking out the right pair of performance sunglasses depends a lot on how you plan to use them, says Tyler Andersen, senior optician at SportRx, a company that makes prescription lenses compatible with a wide range of brands. Lenses that work well for hunting in low-light conditions, for example, probably aren’t ideal for a run in full daylight. Even so, says Andersen, there are two factors to consider regardless of your sport: making sure the frames stay on your face and that they fully protect your eyes from the sun.
“Picking out the right pair can be somewhat sport-specific,” he told Men’s Journal via email, “but the features that tend to be favorable across the board are good wrap coverage and good grip.”
You’ll want a pair that fits well and stays in place as you move, with a lens shape that keeps the sun completely out of your eyes. Before investing in a pair, it’s worth trying some on to make sure they fit and provide the coverage you need. Thankfully, there’s a straightforward test to determine if you’ve found a winner: “When you put them on, you should forget they’re there,” says Andersen.
Light and Lenses
Beyond that, choosing the right frames largely comes down to where and when you plan to wear them. For most outdoor activities, you’ll want polarized lenses, which come with a special coating that filters light rays and cuts down on glare. Another stat to keep an eye out for is VLT, or visible light transmission. This tells you how much light the lenses will allow through. If you use your frames primarily in low-light situations, you’ll want a higher VLT percentage, which will help you see more clearly. In sunnier conditions, you’ll want lenses with a lower VLT percentage to block out excess light. Finally, don’t forget features that are specific to your body and your sport, like a prescription lens or helmet compatibility.
For this guide, we’ve rounded up top options from well known performance brands like Oakley and Smith, as well as niche companies like District Vision. Whether you need a pair for a day of fishing or a long ride on your bike, we’ve got you covered.
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